Wednesday, January 4, 2012

SHORT STORY: The Mystery Club Scandal

Will try to transfer files to new computer today. Everything seems to be up and running but I'm not sure I did the dual computer in the household thing correctly. I do try.

Thought I'd entertain you today by posting a short story I wrote several years back. I was lucky enough to have it published in Skyline Literary Magazine, which I dearly loved and unfortunately, is no longer. The story is short. The topic is deady.

Patricia A. Guthrie

Published in Skyline Literary Magazine

Jonathan Kellerman brought an opened bottle of Port into his mansion’s library and laid it on the cocktail table. “Gentlemen, tonight we discuss local scandals.”

Maurice Whitestone’s mouth turned upward into a grin of one who’d smoked too many cigars. “Well, well, well. No Dame Agatha tonight? Very interesting development. I say then friend Jonathan. You can be first. We know you have skeletons in your closet.”>br>
“Hear, hear.” Two men rested back on their well-developed derrieres, eyes lit with the anticipation of juicy local gossip.

And so it always was with this group, Jonathan thought.

Jonathan bent over and poured the wine into long-stemmed ruby glasses. He rose. His back ached from age and arthritis. But, as usual, he masked his pain behind the plastered debonair smile he’d carried off for years. A smile he’d never allowed to enter his heart, or, he guessed, his eyes. No matter.

He passed the glasses around, then settled on the overstuffed leather chair placed at one end of the chairs facing a stone fireplace--the perfect ambiance for their usual mystery hour chats.
He raised his glass in acknowledgement. Then, his gaze settled on the crackling fire that spit burning embers up the chimney.

"Gentlemen. Do you remember your local history? The story about Maude Parker and Clyde Griffin?”

“I remember Maudie Parker,” Alistair Griffin said, the leather swooshing as he shifted in his seat.

“Yes, my mother kept pictures of her tucked away in a scrapbook,” Maurice said. “Her fiancĂ© killed her, didn’t he?”

“Shook the very foundation of the community,” Alistair mumbled, taking a long sip from his glass.

“Maude was the belle of the town,” Jonathan continued. “She was engaged to Clyde Griffin, but loved to flirt. One night at a party, young Maudie decided to make Clyde jealous by paying too much attention to Harry Brady. Way too much attention. Furious, Clyde left in a huff.”

“Yes, that story made the papers. Clyde caught her kissing young Harry in the library. My mother, God rest her soul, saved the clippings,” Maurice said.

“Oh, yes.” William Seacrest came alive. “I think the story goes . . . Clyde came back with wine and offered it around. Everything seemed okay, until some of the guests got deathly ill. Maude and Harry both died. Clyde was arrested.”

The men uttered ‘tsks’ that sounded like the faint hissing of a roomful of snakes.

Jonathan raised his glass to his lips, changed his mind and put it back down.

"Your uncle, wasn't he?” Alistair asked. If he’d sat any farther forward in his chair, he would have slid off onto the hardwood floor.

The fire sputtered. Everyone hushed. An anticipatory stillness filled the room.


"I can’t remember, exactly what happened. What was the eventual outcome?” William asked. “Did he . . .”

“Clyde never went to trial, Jonathan said softly. “ They remanded him to the state institution for the criminally insane. That was back in the days when they had such institutions.” He paused, for effect. “I believe each one of you had a family member involved?”

Jonathan stood, went to the fireplace and turned to three partially glowing faces. Maurice, didn’t your grandfather preside over Clyde’s trial?”

Maurice nodded, “Why yes, I think he did.”

“And Alistair, wasn’t your father responsible for committing him?”

Alistair raised his shoulders and shook his head, with a raised questioning eyebrow.

“And William, your uncle, the sheriff, took him away.”

Suddenly, Maurice gasped. "What the hell?"

Alistair and William clutched their throats and gagged as their glasses smashed onto the floor splattering wine onto an oriental carpet. The three gentlemen registered surprised terror, then crashed to the floor.

"Gentlemen, Clyde Griffin died today and we come full circle. May you and your loved ones rest in hell!"

Jonathan raised his glass, and in one final toast, drank up. Every last drop.


I hope you enjoyed this story. (copyright, of course) I wrote it while drinking a glass of port. Enjoyed every minute and every last drop.

Today: Barn: Ride Jackson, doctor Smokey, transfer docs and files, buy new battery for dead phone and investigate the attic. Have a great day.


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